Lauren Barrett

As my two-year-old son was playing on a crowded playground, he made a quick dash to climb up a ladder. I instantly sucked in a deep breath as he lumbered his way awkwardly up the steps. The urge to jump in and help him was strong…but I held back, only staying close by in case something went terribly wrong.

As he made it to the top of the ladder and turned around to give me a smile, my heart skipped a beat with pride; I was relieved that I had held back and allowed him to figure it out himself.

This post originally appeared on A Fine Parent.

It is a natural instinct for parents to want to protect their children from adversity. While my son is young and adversity comes in the form of a playground ladder, I can imagine how this will shift and evolve as my son gets older. Learning basic motor skills and tackling self-care will move to making friends, being successful in school, overcoming peer pressure…and the list just goes on.

Our children MUST learn how to be resilient in order to find success and overcome the obstacles they will face as a human. If we sweep in to save our children from every bit of difficulty, we actually do them a disservice. We send the message that when life gets tough, someone will always help you out of it and that failure is a scary and negative thing.

In reality, one of the best things we can do for our children is to allow them to struggle, as it provides the chance to reframe failure. Every hard moment or struggle is an opportunity to learn resilience!
Resiliency does not usually come naturally to our kids. We, as parents, can help them overcome difficulty — although this may also not come naturally to us! Most of us likely say or do things, at times, that unintentionally get in the way of raising gritty, independent kids. Here are 5 things we should stop doing right now to raise resilient kids!

Stop: Saying “Be Careful”

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has had a playground moment in which the “be careful” has been on the tip of your tongue a million times over. If you are anything like me, you are not always successful in biting your tongue.

Children learn best through interactions with the world and sometimes those interactions are through risks. While we…